Red meat producers eager to explore export industry

More red meat producers in the Eastern Cape want to tap into the export industry.
More red meat producers in the Eastern Cape want to tap into the export industry.
Image: 123RF.COM

More red meat producers in the Eastern Cape want to tap into the export industry.

While export markets offer lucrative trade opportunities, red meat producers have to meet strict requirements before they can sell their livestock to other countries.

This means strict international standards have to be met.

But Eastern Cape rural development & agriculture MEC Nonkqubela Pieters said the province was equal to the task.

Delivering the department’s budget and policy speech at the legislature in March, Pieters said the Eastern Cape had exported 67,812 livestock to Mauritius and Kuwait, in the Middle East, with a total value of R307m.

“Furthermore 834 dairy heifers were exported to Zimbabwe, Eswatini and Tanzania with a total value of R18.3m.

“The province also exported 552 boer goats at an estimated average cost of R6,000 per unit to Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Uganda, generating R3.3m.”

The MEC said without a healthy herd, food security and access to international trade would be affected.

That was why, she said, 1.2m animals had been vaccinated against zoonotic diseases, while 2.1m animals had been dipped against external parasites.

“During the 2021-2022 financial year the department allocated R18.7m for cattle vaccination and dipping to protect them from disease. 

“To promote value addition in red meat, the department has supported 17 custom feeding centres; from these more than 900 cattle and sheep were sold, generating R8.5m. This project created 95 jobs for local communities,” she said.

Bhisho has set aside R7.7m for custom feedlots for the current financial year.

“To enhance herd productivity through distribution of improved genetic material to smallholder and communal farmers, 541 cattle have been distributed across the province. The Rural Advancement Foundation International beef programme has so far distributed 690 breeding cows to six smallholder farmers in Chris Hani and Amathole,” Pieters said.

“In the 2020-2021 financial year, the department completed eight large stock animal handling facilities, 15 dipping tanks and 299km of stock fencing.

“These infrastructure projects support sustainable livestock and natural resource management.”

The infrastructure development programmes would continue, she said, with R67.7m pumped into the “development of 492km fencing, 28 dip tanks, 61 boreholes, seven animal handling facilities and the rehabilitation of 100 earth dams”.

“Furthermore, the department will continue to support producers with 350 superior genetic breeding animals to the value of R8m.”

To ensure the Eastern Cape herd participates in the National Livestock Recording Scheme, Bhisho has partnered with the Agriculture Research Council over a three-year period.

“There are 1,745 smallholder farmers recorded in the scheme. Furthermore, 39 extension officials were trained in beef production and 47 farmers in cattle breeding and selection. Through this partnership three interns were employed.

“In 2021-2022, R4.2m was allocated to support livestock producers to improve the management of their enterprises.”

This article was paid for by the Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform.

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